Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Presidential Candidates - #9 Rand Paul

Rand Paul's book Government Bullies is the only book I've read so far written by a candidate.  Last election I met and supported his father, Ron Paul.  So, I was really looking forward to meeting Senator Rand Paul.  I noted that volunteers would get front-row seats and a definite opportunity to get a photo with the senator, so...we volunteered again!  
The meeting, part of the Iowa 10,000 College Tour, was held at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. We ended up holding signs on campus to let people know about the event. 

At 5:05, the youth campaign manager spoke.  He was followed by the President of the College Republicans, Zach Schulz.  Then there was a short video, and Rand Paul took the mic at 5:09.

Miscellaneous Facts:  Rand Paul is 52 years old.  He is the son of former U.S. Representative and Presidential candidate Ron Paul.  His great-grandfather immigrated to the United States from Germany.  Paul is a Southern Baptist, has been married to Kelley Ashby Paul since 1990, has 3 children, and is 5 feet 8 inches tall.
Created with www.readwritethink.org's Timeline Generator.  Click to enlarge.

Paul's Speech
It would be insane to start a war with Russia, but that's what we're working toward by trying to make a no-fly-zone over Syria.  Iraq and Syria have asked Russia to fly over their countries.  A no-fly-zone is a dumb idea, and yet many presidential candidates are for it.  We've avoided nuclear war with Russia for the past 70 years.

Assad is not a great guy, but the Islamic rebel groups hate us too.  We sent arms into this civil war to push Assad back.  What happened?  ISIS moved in.  I'm not sure who are the good and bad guys in Syria, so I'm not ready to send you to fight over there.

The Founding Fathers did not want the power of war to be given to the presidency.  They wanted Congress to vote on wars.  Our mission is done in Afghanistan.  Why are we still there?  

Madison said, "History demonstrates what the Constitution supposes."  Congress should declare war, not the President.  There is a separation of powers, and generally the worst thing happening to our country is the collapse of the separation of powers.  The executive branch has taken too much power.  In Congress I haven't been able to vote on the major regulations that have come into effect in the last few years.  

Take the Waters of the United States, for example.  Under it, now 97% of Iowa land is regulated by the federal government.  Under the Clean Water Act, a man named Robert Lucas got 10 years in prison for moving dirt on his own property.  We all want to protect our environment, but the regulations that portend to do so are absurd.

The federal government has 48 agencies with SWAT (or SWAT-like) teams.  The Department of Education has one; the Department of Agriculture has one.  You can go to jail for selling milk from a cow.  

The government can look at your phone records without a warrant.  The man in charge lied to Congress about this, and we would never had known were it not for Edward Snowden, because they lied.  Maybe you say, "Why should I care?  I don't have anything to hide."   We should not give up our right to privacy.  As Supreme Court Justice Brandeis said, "One of the most cherished of all rights is the right to be left alone."

The Bill of Rights is important.  I stand for all of those rights.  It's important not to forget the 4th and 6th.  The 6th is trial by jury.  Once when I was debating a Senator from Arizona, I asked him, "Would you send a citizen to Guantanamo without a trial?"  He said, "Yes, if he's dangerous."  

The Justice Department gave a memo on what kind of people are dangerous.  Things to watch out for were people who had stains on their clothing, dyed their hair, or paid cash.  If you spill coffee on your clothes, you are potentially dangerous.

In the Olympic bombing, Richard Jewell fit the profile of the bomber.  Everyone thought he was guilty.  But he wasn't.

The Bill of Rights was instituted to protect individuals and minorities.  Minorities can be anyone.   If you're an evangelical, you're a minority.  If you're an atheist, you're a minority.   If you wear glasses, you are a minority.  We need to protect the rights of minorities; everyone should have a day in court.  When the President signed the indefinite detention law, he said, "I'm a good person."  But laws should not depend on the person enforcing them being good.  Laws should assume that people are bad.  The Constitution was written as a chain to bind the government.  

Kalief Browder, a black teenager in Brooklyn (accused of stealing a backpack) was held in solitary confinement for 3 years without a trial.  He was beaten by gangs and guards.  He didn't have anyone to bail him out.  There should be a right to a speedy trial.

I will stand for the Bill of Rights.
Townhall Questions
Q:  Where in the Constitution does the President get the power to make all these executive orders?  Also, we have $18 trillion in debt we're giving the next generation.  Why do young people have to join Social Security?
A:  Congress and the courts need to push back when the President tries to take power with his executive orders.  When I introduced a bill to get rid of waste and debt in the Social Security system, I got a letter from one young person asking, "Please, just let me opt out!"  Galveston county got to opt out of Social Security, and they have their own amazing system.  I would like for people to be able to have private accounts.  But there is so much resistance; the only way to do that might be to add private accounts to Social Security, so people can have both.  It might also be nice to make it so that accounts can be passed down as an inheritance.  Social Security has a debt [deficit] of $7 trillion, because we're taking less in than we're paying out.  The problem is there are less young people than there are old.

Q: People don't know how to compromise anymore.  The divide is great.  How can we restore civility?
A:  The media portrays it as worse than it is; they feed on controversy.  I've worked with Democrats.  I'm even cordial and friendly with Senator Reid, though we disagree about 99% of the time.  There are times when we have to stand up.  Take the appropriations bill.  It had trillions appropriated for creating a televised cricket league in Afghanistan.  A lot of people don't even have tvs in Afghanistan.  The coup de grace was an appropriation for studying whether Japanese quail were more promiscuous under the influence of cocaine.  We should have a vote on each program in the bill.

Q:  How can we stop this student loan debt bubble while still providing for low income students?
A:  The price of education is distorted.  The prices of electronics and everything else go down.  Education and healthcare go up because the government subsidises them.  Let more colleges become accredited, & have more online courses, so prices can go down.  We need more of a marketplace.  Sanders wants to give you free college.  Nothing is free.  Ask him for a free car, free food. You'll end up in Cuba.  Our country is great because of capitalism.
Further Resources:  You can visit Senator Paul's website to learn more about him and read his stance on the important issues.  You can also read about him on Wikipedia.

Paul's books are available on Amazon: Government Bullies (2012), The Tea Party Goes to Washington (2011), and  Taking a Stand (2015, Audiobook from his filibuster speech).

My Remarks:  Senator Paul sounded a lot like his book, which I reviewed here two years ago. Rand Paul seems like a good person, someone you could talk with.  He doesn't put on airs.  The only thing is, when I go to see a politician, I need/expect some platitudes to start the speech, so I can take photos first, and then bring out my notepad.  Paul didn't have any platitudes to share.  He was very efficient and got right to the point at the start of his speech.  I believe he is sincere and will unwaveringly fight for less government.  

Disclaimer: Candidates' speeches are reconstructed from my imperfect notes.  If you notice any mistakes, just let me know.  I would not intentionally misrepresent anyone's position.  I am not endorsing any candidate or candidate's position at this time, and no candidate has endorsed me.  And yes, I do realize that often speeches are to some extent propaganda, but it's interesting to me to see the points candidates consider as most important.
For my personal political views, please see this article.

35 comments:

  1. This is some level of commitment on your behalf. I have never seen any Australian (or British for that matter) Prime Minister in the flesh - maybe I should try harder.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: My post this Friday is about the mystery animal from my Monday post - the echidna.

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    1. It's much harder to meet candidates after they are elected!

      I was wondering about that animal. Will head over to your blog to take a look.

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  2. He sounds like he makes a lot of sense, Bethany, and he sounds like a really decent man. It is wonderful that you can see all these people up close and personal. xo Diana

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    1. Sometimes it's pretty nice to be an Iowan. ;)

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  3. I bet Rand is really surprised he's not doing too well in the polls. Most of his father's core supporters think he's a sellout. I think he can be hypocritical. I know he supported repealing the 17th amendment which gave voters to the right vote directly on a senator. Before it, the state house would vote on it. Republicans love being "supporters of the Constitution" but the 17th was one of the best amendments. How can you be against more democracy?

    also Social Security is not 7 trillion in debt. The Federal Government is in debt to Social Security for a ridiculous amount. S Security hasn't added a dime to the federal debt but in a few decades it will unless they increase taxes for it.

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    1. I think the original plan with the Senate was to give states a voice. Having the state house vote on the Senators did that; it was intended as a check on the power of the federal government. Since Senator Paul is in favor of state's rights, I can see how supporting the repeal of the 17th amendment could be compatible with his position.

      I personally haven't given much thought to the issue. But, I do like getting to vote for/against senators myself, rather than having sometimes very unresponsive state representatives vote on them.

      Ah, I guess more correct would be to say Social Security has a 7 trillion dollar deficit or $7 trillion in unfunded obligations. Unfunded obligations could be viewed as "debt", but it's possible an imperfection in my notes could have resulted in the ambiguity. I will add [deficit] to (hopefully) resolve the ambiguity.

      Thanks as always for being a critical reader. I appreciate (and look forward to) your comments.

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  4. Hi Bethany, I think it is just great that you are going to all these political events and seeing the candidates in person. I do believe it must be one of the many benefits of living in Iowa. : ) Well, if you lived here, in Seattle, we are such a big city that when politicians come here there are usually big crowds and it is really difficult to get close to them or even to ask a question of them. When Bernie Sanders was here protesters interrupted his speech. I think Iowans are more civil than that. Well, I am not sure, but it seems like so far you are leaning toward Mr. Paul. I am looking forward to your reports on Ms. Fiorina and Dr. Carson. However, I hope you will not show any prejudice for Dr. Carson despite that last name. : ))))

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    1. Hi John, Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments!
      Unfortunately there are hecklers here in Iowa as well, though (I hope) not as many as in the big cities. At the Donald Trump event a few gave him a bad time. I believe they were escorted out by security personnel. But for the most part, audiences have been very well-behaved. There was a group of Planned Parenthood supporters sitting behind me at the Carly Fiorina meeting, but they did not cause any trouble during her speech. They were a bit fidgety, whispering to each other, but having attended a Democratic speech, I can understand the discomfort they must have felt attending a Republican speech.

      It's important to be respectful even in disagreement. Politics and religion, though some of the most interesting subjects, are "banned" topics from many discussions because people take things too personally and get offended easily.

      Dr. Paul was my favorite going into this race, since, having read his book in 2013, I was more familiar with his ideas than with those of any other candidate. At present, I have not decided for whom I will vote. But yes, President Carson has a very nice ring to it!

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    2. Hi Bethany, Thank you for the kind words about my comment. I feel the same way about your comments on my blog. You are an exceptional blogger ... It is rare to find someone who replies to comments. I think it adds a lot to the quality of the blog and I'm considering doing it myself. The reason I haven't done it so far goes all the way back to 2011 when I started blogging and had a person who I considered a mentor (she had been blogging for several years) tell me not to reply to comments since most people didn't have the time to come back again to see if there was a reply. That may still be true on the whole ... However, I do think it could be different for those who give thoughtful comments and go beyond just a few words. Anyway, thanks again, and have a great week ahead. And, YES, I sure hear you about a President Carson! I'll bet you could get a special tour of the White House! :-)

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    3. As far as replying to comments goes, it's just whatever works best for each blogger, I think. It's most convenient for me to reply to comments because it helps me keep track of whose blogs I have visited (that's why I try to reply to every comment, even if it's only with a simple, boring "Thanks"). If the comments are thought-provoking, and I can actually think of something somewhat worthwhile to say, all the better. I enjoy it!

      Heh, a tour of the White House would be nice...though after studying Carson family genealogy, I'm afraid there may just be too many of us Carsons for me to get any special favors thanks to my surname. ;)

      You have a great week as well! Thanks John!

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  5. I appreciate all these posts and am looking forward to reading more of them!!

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    1. Thanks Mari! We have so many candidates to choose from this time around!

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  6. Bethany you are very interested in politcs

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  7. Thanks for doing this Bethany! Rand Paul is probably the candidate I am most interested in so I appreciated your notes!

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    1. Considering your most recent awesome blog post, I am so tempted to leave an evil "thank you" in response to your comment... ;)

      Glad you stopped by! It will be interesting to see for whom you ultimately decide to vote.

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    2. Ahaha, Bethany! That would have been "evil" but I would have laughed. :) Actually, I laughed anyway!

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  8. You and Adam (another favourite blogger) are two young voters that seem very interested in politics (and quite well informed). At least when you vote, you've certainly done your homework!

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    1. I do enjoy visiting Adam's blog!

      Yes, I definitely have been "doing my homework." I just hope meeting them all will not make it harder to decide which one to vote for!

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  9. Bethany, I can't tell you how much I appreciate posts like this because at this point, I am still undecided.
    I hope you have a lovely weekend... :)

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    1. We do have a tough decision this election. Have a great week!

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  10. Bethany I really have appreciated all your posts with the candidates. It must be quite an adventure to meet and hear them speak. I like seeing the pictures especially:)

    Will you be at the Freedom Conference in Iowa next week? We're going to be there, and I hope to meet you if you are:)

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    1. No, unfortunately I won't be attending the conference. Awesome that you will be in Iowa!

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  11. Bethany, I love your first photo! You are so beautiful and photogenic! Here in Canada we had our own election on October 19th, and I was very happy that Justin Trudeau won by a very significant margin! :)

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    1. Thanks Linda! I don't know much about Justin Trudeau, since I don't follow Canadian politics closely. From photos though, I thought he looked very young; I was surprised to learn he's in his 40s!

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  12. Sorry I haven't been by much lately. I wanted to say I admire you for meeting all the different political candidates. I've been a bit disallusioned about voting due to things that have happened in our state so it's not a subject I usually read or study a lot about. It's nice to know that you are well informed.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Ida! I do understand how a voter could become disillusioned. The government and politicians can be frustrating at times.

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  13. Wow, Bethany, this is amazing! I must admit that I am so confused with politics that I never know how to start diving into it - so I don't. But I do want to know more. It's wonderful you get to meet all these people and that you make sure you know what's going on. You are very inspiring! I hope you are doing well. Sending lots of hugs to you.

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    1. Thanks Beate! I hope I don't become confused from listening to so many different politicians! We do have quite the advantage in being able to meet candidates here in Iowa, since we have the earliest caucus.

      I'm afraid I don't know much about politics in Germany. I do know the German Chancellor's name, but besides that it is almost embarrassing how little I know. Ah! It's hard just to keep up with one's own country's government...but much harder to keep up-to-date on the challenges and decisions of the rest of the world!

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  14. I appreciate some of Paul's positions...especially on respecting the checks and balances set up to protect the balance of power in government so that we can truly be governed by the will of citizens and not a dictatorial president or supreme court. Thanks for posting, Bethany!

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  15. Even though I am from the other side of the world, I really enjoy your posts! I always look forward to them, Bethany! Greetings from Germany, Sinah

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    1. Thank you Sinah! It's interesting that you would be interested in American politics, living in Germany. But then I am often impressed by the global awareness displayed by many Europeans.

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    2. Well, German politics are rather tame and rarely scandalous. Even thought some of our laws are way more conservative than in the US (abortion is outlawed, but there is no punishment till the 12th week/ assisted suicide is outlawed/ no surrogacy is allowed/ if you adopt here, you need to be a married couple or a single person (though married couples are normaly preferred)) people here don´t campain on social issues. And values are more important than faith here.
      So of course your completely different systems intrigues me. (And I have a lot of American friends)

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    3. Interesting to hear abortion is illegal in Germany (Now that you mention it, from Wikipedia I see that it's the German constitution that protects a fetus from the moment of conception). We generally consider Europe as more liberal than the United States...so very surprising!

      Having "rather tame and rarely scandalous" politics is probably a good thing. But I think Americans almost like the excitement we have here with every election.

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